Is sparkling water bad for you?

A glass of sparkling water. PHOTO/COURTESY/NET. 

What you need to know:

  • Stay away from carbonated water if you suffer from gastrointestinal issues such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Often hailed as a healthier alternative to soda and more satisfying than plain water, sparkling water — and carbonated water in general — has seen a surge in popularity in recent years.  

Carbonated water is simply water (H2O) that has been infused with carbon dioxide gas (CO2) under high pressure. This process creates a “fizzy” drink that can come in several different forms, including seltzer, club soda, sparkling mineral water and tonic water.

Some brands of sparkling water may contain extra additives to improve their taste, including sodium, artificial sweeteners and flavouring agents all of which could contribute to a negative effect on your health, especially in the long run.

If you are bored of regular water, incorporating sparkling water into your routine can change things up and help you hit your daily water quota. Additionally, most sparkling waters can be a much healthier alternative to soft drinks, as long as they do not contain any sweeteners or added sugars. 

Since sparkling water contains CO2 gas, the bubbles in this fizzy drink can cause burping, bloating and other gas symptoms. Some sparkling water brands may also contain artificial sweeteners such as sucralose, which may cause diarrhoea and even alter your gut microbiome.

Because of this, stay away from carbonated water if you suffer from gastrointestinal issues such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), particularly if you experience diarrhoea as a recurring symptom.  Carbonated beverages can also trigger heartburn, according to officials at the Mayo Clinic — which means it might be best to avoid excess carbonation if you have a history of acid reflux too. 

Your teeth
As the carbonation process introduces carbonic acid into the water a substance that can potentially erode the enamel on your teeth.  However,  has been suggested that sparkling mineral water was a hundred times less damaging to your teeth than a sugary soft drink.

Ease stress with lemon balm plant

Lemon balm also known as bee balm, cure-all, dropsy plant, honey plant, sweet balm and sweet Mary among others, is believed to treat a range of medical disorders affecting the digestive tract, nervous system, and liver.

Its use dates back to the 14th century when Carmelite nuns used it to make an alcoholic tonic popularly known as Carmelite water.  

Today, lemon balm is used in traditional medicine as both a sleep aid and digestive tonic. It can be consumed as a tea, taken as a supplement or extract, or applied to the skin in balms and lotion. Lemon balm essential oil is also popular in aromatherapy, where it is believed to promote calmness and ease stress. 

There is growing evidence that lemon balm can help treat symptoms of dyspepsia (upset stomach), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and acid reflux. 

Preliminary studies have suggested that citral in lemon balm extract may inhibit cholinesterase, an enzyme targeted by the drugs Aricept (donepezil), Exelon (rivastigmine), and Razadyne (galantamine) used to treat Alzheimer’s disease. Doing so may reduce the formation of plaques in the brain associated with the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

Insomnia and sleep apnea, often accompanied by depression and anxiety, are common features of menopause. The combination of herbs is believed to aid in sleep by acting directly on GABA receptors in the brain, delivering a mild sedative effect while stimulating the production of the “feel-good” hormone serotonin. 

How to make lemon balm tea
Start by snipping a few fresh lemon balm leaves. Avoid those that are yellowing, discolored, or have evidence of mold. Rinse the leaves thoroughly, and pat dry with paper towels.

Cut or tear the leaves into smaller pieces and place them into a tea infuser. You can even muddle them with the back of a spoon or chopstick to extract more of the herb’s oils. Do this last minute; the leaves blacken and dry out if you cut them too far in advance.

Pour one cup of hot water over one packed tablespoon of leaves and infuse for about five minutes. You can double or triple the recipe as needed. After brewing the tea, be sure to keep the teapot or cup covered to hold in the steam, which is thought to retain the herb’s therapeutic oils.

Side effects
Lemon balm is considered safe for short-term use. Side effects may include headache, nausea, bloating, gas, vomiting, indigestion, dizziness, stomach pain, painful urination, anxiety, and agitation.

The risk of side effects tends to increase with the size of the dose. The long-term use or overuse of lemon balm is not recommended. High doses can potentially affect thyroid function by slowing the production of thyroid hormones. Stopping treatment suddenly after long-time use can cause rebound anxiety.



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